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Splitter or blender: what kind of worker are you?

June 24, 2024

Work-life balance has become a paramount concern in today’s fast-paced world, where the boundaries between professional responsibilities and personal well-being often blur. As individuals strive to excel in their careers, the quest for equilibrium between work commitments and personal time has taken center stage. This dynamic interplay between professional aspirations and personal fulfillment has sparked discussions, research, and initiatives aimed at fostering healthier lifestyles and optimizing productivity. 

In this regard, two distinct approaches emerge: the “splitters” and the “blenders”: 

  • Splitters are individuals who prefer clear boundaries between their work and personal lives, meticulously segmenting their time and energy to maintain separate spheres. 
  • On the other hand, blenders seamlessly integrate work and personal activities, finding synergy and fulfillment in combining these aspects of life. 

What Gallup found is that it’s about a 50/50 split between splitters and blenders among the working population. These different work styles can be a source of interpersonal conflict: “Splitters may drive blenders crazy when they don’t answer work emails or phone calls outside of work hours. Blenders may drive splitters crazy when they take care of personal tasks during work hours. But the truth is that both blenders and splitters can be engaged at work and productive — if leaders consider their work styles,” says Ryan Pendell, Senior Workplace Science Editor.

When Gallup studied the outcomes of those who prefer splitting work and life or blending the two, the researchers found the percentage of engaged employees was essentially equal — as was their overall level of thriving. Both of these work-life preferences can be productive and fulfilling.

However, Fortune 500 CHROs surveyed expected only 24% of their white-collar workers to be splitters, when in fact, 45% preferred a splitter work style. When it came to production/front-line employees, CHROs thought 54% of their employees would be splitters. In reality, 62% preferred a splitter work style. In both cases, leaders overestimated the number of blenders in their organizations.

“Managers need to ask employees on their teams what their best life imaginable looks like. Are they splitters or blenders? For example, do they mind getting emails on weekends or during off hours, or do they thrive on being constantly in the loop? Does it feel intrusive when their home life is disrupted by the office, or do they see work and life as seamless? The reality is that both types of employees can be highly engaged and productive. But not knowing which is which could lead to lower engagement, feelings of disrespect and more burnout for all,” bestselling author Jim Harter concludes.

Source: Gallup